Pickled Onion Salsa

Garlic is a point of contention between me and the world. Garlic and onion. I love them, but the potent combination of either of those + my mouth is not something the world (I’m sure) wishes to have.

pickled onion salsa

For years, I avoided onion and garlic like the plague (before I realized how delicious they made everything.) Now, they present a bit of a first-world struggle: to eat or not to eat? One leads down the road of appropriately kissable breath whereas the other leaves me with the dreaded Onion Hangover.

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake PrincessPickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

Judging from the judgey looks I’ve received when discussing this, I may be the only one in the world this happens to…but when I eat raw, or sometimes even cooked onions, I’ll end up with these onion breath fumes that last throughout multiple teeth brushings, gum, mints, other strong-tasting foods, you name it. And I’ll wake up the next morning with residual onion breath. Thus: the Onion Hangover. G R O S S.

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

Pickled onions are a game-changer*! And they are AWESOME in salsa!

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

I tried Bon Appetit’s technique for quick pickled onions last weekend while Erik and I worked on attempting this ridiculous shrimp taco. With the rest of the batch, I threw together a quick salsa and the pickled onions were a surprising winning addition!

I didn’t expect the pickled aspect to make such a huge difference, but it imparts an unexpectedly addicting sweetness, cut by the tang of lime juice. The other components of the salsa—ripe, juicy tomatoes for the base, cucumber for crunch (bell peppers would also be great), corn for meatiness, avocado for creaminess, and spices make this a star of a salsa for tacos.
Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

This is the perfect way to dress up a simple breakfast taco–so much flavor, color and nutrition! Toss this salsa in a lightly warmed corn tortilla with a freshly fried or scrambled egg and dinner is suddenly amazing!

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

*As far as I can tell, the reason why these are so much more awesome than raw or cooked onions is because once cut and soaked in vinegar, the sulfur compounds from the onion are dispersed into the soaking liquid.

Pickled Onion Salsa


  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • ¼ English cucumber, cubed
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 1 small avocado, cubed
  • cilantro (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • few grinds pepper
  • juice from half a lime


To pickle the onion (make at least an hour before you want to make the salsa, up to 2 weeks before):

Whisk apple cider vinegar, water, salt and sugar together until salt and sugar dissolve (note: mine didn’t really dissolve all the way). Add onion and let sit for an hour at room temperature (mine sat in a glass measuring cup uncovered for slightly over an hour). Drain, cover and chill until ready to use.

To make the salsa:

Combine the onion, tomato, cucumber, corn, avocado and cilantro, if using. Top with salt, cumin, pepper and lime juice. Toss gently to combine.

To make breakfast tacos:

Warm corn tortillas in a pan (no need to grease) over medium heat. Top with a fried egg, salsa, cilantro, and EAT!


From this…

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess

To this!

Pickled Onion Salsa // The Pancake Princess


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19 thoughts on “Pickled Onion Salsa

  1. Pingback: Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip | The Pancake Princess

  2. Kelly

    Yum, ever since having my son, I adore anything pickled! Your pickled onion salsa looks amazing! I have never tried pickled onion and don’t think my son would mind my onion breathe too much so thank you so much for sharing Erika! Your photos are just stunning :) Pinning!

  3. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    I’m married so I don’t care about having deathly garlic & onion breath anymore 😉 I must confess – I don’t like pickled anything but this sounds ridiculously good. I have to try this asap!

    1. erika Post author

      Haha no worries, I didn’t think I’d be into them either :) Thanks so much!!! Huge compliment coming from you!!!

  4. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because

    These pictures are gorgeous in their own right, but that salsa sounds AMAZING. Ever since I started learning about Korean food, I have kinda been obsessed with pickling everything. It’s such an easy way to take a vegetable from yawn to AWESOME and it’s mostly hands off.


  5. laurasmess

    Yum! Erika, this is a fantastic post! I’ve never thought to add picked onions to anything (I’ve always associated them with the jarred pickled onions that my dad ate with fish and chips! So acidic, ick!) but you’ve completely convinced me to try making my own. The science completely makes sense…. now, does the same thing work for garlic breath?! :) Love the look of your gorgeous sunny-side-up egg tortilla also! Yum! Thanks lovely xx

    1. erika Post author

      Aw Laura you leave the BEST comments! Haha–I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat jarred pickled onions with fish and chips! Is that a thing where you live? Or just a dad thing? :)

      I was also curious about using the same method for garlic! But hmmm. I need to google pickled garlic! Might be weird. Might be great!!

      Thanks so much :)

    1. erika Post author

      Thank you so much Kiersten!!

      PS. I meant to tell you that in our quest to find a good veggie burger, my boyfriend and I have already found one that we like thanks to your recommendation!

  6. Sarah

    Lol, my latest post also included pickled onions! Great minds think alike, ey? But i’ve never seen them in salsa definitely trying this.

  7. Choc Chip Uru

    Haha this is the perfect initiation recipe into enjoying raw garlic and onion – we eat in Indian cooking all the time with onion hangovers :)
    Your photos look delicious, can’t wait to try this!

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. erika Post author

      Haha good to know I’m not the only one with them! Oh, Indian food. I love it, but so true…SO MUCH garlic and onion!!!


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